Understanding The Bible
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BY THE AUTHOR
Dr. Clarence E. Mason, Jr.
Philadelphia College of Bible
IV. A PRACTICAL EXHORTATION TO ENTER INTO THE FULL CONSEQUENCES OF THEIR SPIRITUAL LIBERATION 5:2‑6:10
The effective subversion of liberty in Christ, 5:2‑15
Legality antagonizes Christ, 2‑6
The law and the gospel are incompatible as a common ground of justification, 2:21. To admit the initial rite of the law involves responsibility to keep the whole law.
The deflection of these Christians and their perverters, 7‑12
Not stopped, but hindered (7‑l0a)
They have not been stopped, but hindered, and that is bad enough. He who slackens his pace will never win the race. Don't run looking over your shoulder!
Woe be to the hinderer(lOb‑12)
The highest expression of liberty in Christ, 5:13‑15
Not license, but love! 13
Love is the substance and sum of the
moral law, 14
The work of the Spirit (love) does far more than the Mosaic code ever required.
To disregard these facts is ruinous
to Christian conduct, 15
NOTE: Christianity is not law‑less but law‑full because it is love‑full. He who does not love cannot be free in any practical sense.
The abiding secret of liberty in Christ, 5:16‑26
The Holy Spirit, not the law, empowers against the flesh,16‑21
Obedience to the Spirit and its results (16‑18)
The exhortation to obedience to the Spirit (16)
The results of obedience to the Spirit (17‑18)
Delivers from the flesh (17)
Delivers from the law (18)
The fruit of the flesh (19‑21)
What an ugly list: These are 15 manifestations according to the R.V.:
3 referring to impurity,
2 to idolatry,
8 to ill‑nature, and
2 to intemperance.
This is not a catalog, but a symptomatic sample.
The Holy Spirit forms Christian character, 22‑25
The fruit of the Spirit (22‑23)
Observe it does not say "fruits," but "fruit." One has all or none. These are all aspects of one energizing Spirit. Actually, Christian character is the character of Christ.
Love, joy, peace (God‑ward); longsuffering, gentleness, goodness (man‑ward); faithfulness, meekness, temperance or self‑control (self‑ward).
We must die to live, and will to walk,
in the Spirit (24‑25)
The practical outcome of liberty in
The new life in Christ manifesting itself in:
Mercy to the fallen, 6:1
Ministry to the burdened, 6:2
Genuine maturity and stability, 6:3‑5
Here is a nobody pretending to be somebody, and deceiving nobody but himself.
Take stock of your past (3);
change it in the present (4); and
you will be glad in the future (5).
Liberality in supporting the ministry of the Word, 6:6
Sowing to the Spirit, 6:7‑8
Patient beneficence to all, 6:9‑10
But especially to the household of faith. Christians should give to secular charitable objects, but the bulk of such giving should be to Christian agencies ministering in Christ's name. Also, no one will care for fellow Christians but Christians. They must be first on our list of those we care for.
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